FLASHBACK: Happy Birthday, Precious - August 2012

It was a long day for me and the president in August 1998. I was waiting for my daughter to be born and the president was testifying to a grand jury for hours. We were worlds apart. President Clinton was perhaps having the worst day of his life and I was having the best. I felt like I was on top of the world just knowing that my precious little one was going to arrive on that hot August day.

She was induced on that day. I’m not sure if I would do that today, but it seemed like the right thing to do at that time. The Pitocin -- the medicine used to induce a baby --wasn’t “taking hold” in the morning. The doctor arrived quite early. We engaged in a wait-and-see approach with the Pitocin. The doctor arrived several hours later and announced to the staff, “Crank the Pit!” Mom was in tears – a combination of joy and fear – especially when a long needle was inserted into her spine to numb the oncoming pain. The staff and I yelled out to Mom, “Don’t look back! Don’t look back!” My Adidas were covered in amniotic fluid as the staff and I held Mom in place. It was in the late afternoon, when our little full-head-of-dark-haired-wonder arrived. She jumped into the world and I will never forget seeing her precious little face for the first time. Mom did very well and quite honestly, what first-time mom wouldn’t have a combination of joy and fear!? I confess that those needles are huge!

The pride and joy of our lives arrived. She changed me forever. She amazed me from Day One as she has from every day thereafter. She went from knocking blocks off of my head as a 2 year old to a bike-riding 5 year old to a video storyteller in grade school to a gymnast in middle school. Now, my little high-schooler/JV cheerleader/gymnast/video artist celebrates another birthday and hopefully many more healthy ones. I am forever grateful that I have a daughter filled with kindness, perseverance, strength and most of all, humor. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

People always try to guess if the child’s looks or characteristics come from Mom, Dad or any other family members. I say that she gets her characteristics from herself. Indeed I hope that I instilled good values within her, but ultimately, I give credit to her solid discipline and laser-beam focus which I feel she developed within herself. I’m not being hard on myself. I’m simply humble. I didn’t do it all myself. There were teachers, instructors, Mom and other mentors who have and continue to guide her. As a college history professor once told me and a rather full class, “I’m here to give you the materials, you do the rest! I’m merely a supplement!” I believe that parents are all a supplement. After all, It’s our jobs.

She knows all about what happened with President Clinton. We really don’t discuss the details. Compared to today, it was an innocent time. President Clinton and I are still worlds apart. I’ll never understand him nor have I ever tried. Indeed it was a trying time for the country, but, then again, after looking at a videotape of his testimony, a part of me thinks President Clinton was a having blast messing around with Judge Starr’s mind while sipping on a Diet Coke. No matter what one thinks of President Clinton, he was and still is a gifted and eccentric individual – much like his political nemesis, Speaker Gingrich.

The country moved on to much more horrific events over these past 14 years including the Columbine High School shootings, 9-11, two wars and more recently, the violence in Aurora, Colorado. As shemoves forward, my hope is that she will not have to witness more horrific events. I’m hoping that she will witness positive breakthroughs in medicine, technology and peace. So I say: Happy birthday to my precious little one. I embarrassed you enough in this space, so I owe you a huge cookie cake, dinner and a movie. I cannot say it enough: A dad couldn’t ask for anything more than a happy, healthy child like you.
First b-day, 1999


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